Southern Pacific Cab-Forward Project Update 

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Availability: Our basic design and development has been completed and we are ready to move to the production phase of the project pending future project scheduling. If you would like to be included in any dedicated project mailings when they begin and you have not already advised us, please let us know using any means provided in our contact information.

Price: $5,800

Versions Offered: 6

Production Quantity: 100

4/19/21 - It has been quite some time since the last update on future locomotive projects and much of what I have to say about individual projects at this point will seem repetitive. When I last wrote about the cab-forward project we were finalizing the design work on the UP Big boy project which was an excruciating effort and there was a cab-forward project being delivered by another importer. In addition, we were all hit with the COVID situation which forestalled serious discussion about future projects. I am happy to report that I am more than just thinking about future projects at this point, there is active discussion and planning happening now that the COVID situation has become somewhat more manageable and goals can be set with the involvement of suppliers to move projects forward. Projects will certainly depend on the support of interested modelers and collectors to make them viable. Our competitors cab-forward delivery seems to have had little affect on the interest in my project, subsequently leaving many with a desire for a much better example of the type. So, while based on the continuing feedback that I have received in recent months interest and potential support does not seem like problem, it cannot be taken for granted.

I look forward to hearing from many of my faithful supporters and hope to gain more feedback from the many hobbyists that have expressed new interest in recent months. I'll be working to gain a better understanding of the level of support for my cab-forward and other specific projects in the post-COVID world.

3/31/17 - Whenever there are like products planned for the marketplace there is certain to be interest among potential buyers regarding how in this case my cab-forward will compare to the one being delivered by Key Models. I've had several inquiries by phone and email lately wanting comment from me on that exact subject. My policy has been and will remain to refrain from comment on other projects even in private conversation with customers. I also cannot comment on price since I do not know what the official price is for the Key model although I've heard several different ones mentioned. The best thing I can do is provide the facts related to the Kohs & Company project and advise that you should seek out the comparable data for any other project of interest and see how the facts match up. In the case of our project, you will have to rely in part on our reputation since our rendition of this prototype has not been completed as yet. While comment could make for real Internet fun for some, the facts should be the basis for any evaluation. With that in mind, an updated specification sheet is available for download on the PROJECT DOWNLOAD page. Your interest in this project is certainly appreciated!

3/26/17 - It has obviously been a long time since this project site was updated and that has been somewhat intentional. Project scheduling is extremely difficult under the best of circumstances, but when you have other importers doing the same project and their delivery is substantially delayed, you have to decide to either rush to get your own project delivered first or be confident in the work you do and let matters take their normal course. I had chosen to simply back away from our development until things became more settled in the market place. In all honesty, if a company chooses to jump on a project ahead of Kohs & Company, I am definitely interested in seeing exactly what sort of model that company will ultimately deliver, the goal being to make certain that ours is better, that's the cold hard facts of the matter.

In the interim, I have assured our clients that this project is a definite 'go' and that I am totally committed. I am also extremely confident at this point that the model we deliver will be without a doubt the standard setter for cab-forwards, starting with the fundamental modeling techniques that all serious models should incorporate (not all importers require), up to and including the latest in electronics and modeling 'firsts' that Kohs & Company has developed with other projects. So stay tuned as the effort on this project begins to ramp up once again!

2/04/16 - The updates on our AC project are running behind time, but our work is not thankfully. To make sure that our progress continues on a timely basis, my builder hired on a dedicated 3D CAD technician for me to work with in completing the 3D construction so we will be ready to go to production when the time is right. Very serious efforts are being made to keep our project production efforts moving at an acceptable rate which is a very new experience for me! There is certainly a good degree of pressure for all involved to perform and that does include me. Pressure that is productive is a great feeling as opposed to that that results from problems and no results. We'll have more progress to share near term so please stay tuned, I understand that many of you are following this project and are very anxious.

4/26/15 - The research and development for our cab-forward project goes on at a rapid pace. I previously mentioned a recent research trip out west and there was so much new information gathered that it is still being digested. My approach with our project development has always been a basics first approach, trying to make certain that the basic construction detail of our subject locomotives and tenders (excluding our GG-1 not having a tender) is as faithful as possible to the original prototypes. If the basics are not correct, in my mind, the accuracy of the detail is of little importance.

In reviewing the most recent research material, I have noticed 'consistent inconsistencies', subtle major construction characteristics that appear on multiple prototypes, but not on all of them. Not living in the day, these are often the most difficult findings to verify in terms of including them on our models as class characteristics. The major locomotive builders definitely had their own approach to construction and it seems that Baldwin departed from the norm more often than either of the other builders. All of the builders had reference manuals that were the 'Bibles' for their shops, all with different titles, but common subject matter related to the common practices used on all of the builds they completed, regardless of railroad. A great deal of time is now being spent referencing my copy of Baldwin's Standards for the Engineering, Maintenance and Erection of Steam Locomotives to see if any clarification is provided for what I have noticed. It would seem at this point that some unique construction detail should be included on our models, it will be very visible and has never been modeled before in any scale. I will be more specific in future updates and will for now leave it to our competitors to think about what they are missing with their development.

3/10/15 - As mentioned in the General News Update of this date, we will be having a gathering of interested modelers at the Chicago O Scale March Meet. This will be an opportunity to discuss the Big Boy project and the new technology that we began introducing with our Challenger models and that will continue with our cab-forward. We can also discuss my recent research trip to California for this project. If you're interested in this project, this will be a great opportunity to gather informally and have any questions you may have answered.

2/03/15 - Some of the best memories related to working on the projects that Kohs & Company has developed over the years are those involving people that have shared information in some form that helped to make our projects a success. To meet the standards that I have set for our projects, you can never have too much reference information to rely on for the design. You never know for sure where you'll find that most important piece of information that you are desperate for, you have to follow every lead to find out. Tomorrow begins another research adventure, an opportunity to review never before shared information related to the 'AC' class of locomotives and I can't wait to see what I come up with.....stay tuned!

12/23/14 - In line with our new development and production processes, the 3D build of our cab-forward project is now under way. As we make progress on this phase of the construction I'll be sharing image captures from the build as I have already done with our other current projects. This process is very exciting for me after transitioning through several different approaches to project development and production during the course of twenty-five years. 3D construction is yielding positive results much faster than any other approach I have experienced. We are seeing needed modifications to our design much faster and earlier in the process which was exactly the purpose for implementing this technology. As proud as I have been of our past projects, I am truly excited to see what we can do with our new ones, the horizon for our capabilities has definitely been pushed a bit further out!

10/27/14 - I have had a number of questions in recent days about the detailing planned for this project, one of the most often asked lately is regarding the tender bottom and related components. In short, the questions have been if the model tender will have a prototypical underbody, the answer is yes. I suspect that the interest in that area of the model is driven by the short comings of previous cab-forward models. To be more specific in response, the tenders of the AC-10, 11 & 12 were all variations of the 220-R series tender and that series was based on the cast water-bottom design.

The difficulty in modeling a water-bottom tender is that there are seldom original blueprints that completely show the 'corrugated' design for specific tender types. Most of the tenders that we have modeled with our previous projects have been water-bottom designs. The most effective way to accurately model the tender bottoms has been to photograph, measure most every aspect of the prototype tender and correlate that information with what is presented in the original blueprints. This effort does represent a commitment to a project greater than what is typically seen within the hobby. This is also a fairly easy area of design to 'fudge', since who would know the difference? This is the best explanation that I can offer for why I will not attempt projects for which I can not document the design aspects of the subject prototype should there be questions. Very often, the tender portion of a model is almost an after thought, but I have always considered it to be every bit as important as any locomotive and our tender models will affirm that.

I continue to encourage questions about this and any other project that we are working on. It is very important for our team to know the interests of serious modelers and collectors and if our projects are matching those interests.

8/08/14 - We are making great progress on all of our projects, including the cab forwards. The last major hurdle in our development is now complete, that being the sound package to be used for our cab forward sound systems. We have never used synthesized sound in our models, only the real sounds from the prototypes in digitized form. To capture prototype sounds that are 'clean' enough for the purpose typically requires a good deal of digging through promotional films, videos with real soundtracks and in some cases, vinyl recordings, this project was no exception. Our commitment is to improve every aspect of our models with each new project and in this case it was to include more than just the basic or routine sounds to make the playback as dynamic as possible.

Please check back often for the latest news and don't forget that I am always seeking good constructive input on all of our projects!

6/29/14 - The basic research and design work has been completed and our pricing is set so we are ready to proceed to production. With at least one project ahead of the AC's as we realign our production schedule, it has been decided to go ahead with the development of a gauge-one version of this project as has been previously discussed. A separate project site will be established to provide information on the gauge-one project and that will be happening near term.

I am very happy that we have been able to establish pricing that represents a great value for a state-of-the-art project like our Cab-Forwards. Realizing that $5,800 is not inexpensive, compared to the pricing of lesser models and the cost of European models, this is an opportunity to own a 'Best' quality model at an affordable price. It has been imperative to the cost considerations to target prototype variations that represent the true intent of the Southern Pacific design staff rather than the random situationally derived unique examples created by a pipe fitter having a bad day or workers using supplies at hand rather than actual replacement parts. Endless variations impact the overall pricing for all of the models in a production, not just the unique ones. Additionally, if you take away my continuing investment in new production technology and my hands-on builder support, the pricing would be far less favorable. My focus has always been on the highest quality possible over the long term, not on a project to project basis shopping for the best deal to increase profit.

I look forward to your feedback on these latest developments and be sure to look for the new gauge-one Southern Pacific Cab-Forward project site in the near future.

1/01/14 - The demand for this project is rivaling that for our Union Pacific 'Big Boy' project, as a result, I anticipate having the project fully developed and ready for production by the end of this year. The feedback regarding the changes made to the anticipated offering has been positive, although there is concern about availability resulting from the reduced production quantity, but I see no logical or acceptable way around this issue. As we move forward with the development I will begin to share more information regarding the details of each version we'll be building.

10/03/13 - Although it has been a while since the last update, there has been an ongoing conversation with many that are interested in this project. The development has continued and the production plan has evolved as a result. You may notice above that the number of versions has been trimmed back and the production quantity has also been lowered.

Our research has lead to logical conclusions about how many versions were necessary to effectively represent this class of prototypes without overwhelming potential buyers with details of little interest. There is always a fine line between not representing critical and appropriate details and doing versions with unique detailing that didn't really contribute to the success of the prototype class. Often times unique versions resulted from circumstances of the moment rather than intentional design intent, is it worth developing a special version on that basis? if circumstances led to class-wide modifications they certainly need to be considered, but the trade-off always is driving up the cost of production by including more versions.

The issue of production quantity has always been a difficult one for Kohs & Company, but not for the usual or typical reason of being concerned about the ability to sell what is produced, even when we have produced 150 models in a project we have always sold out. I have previously explained that there is point of diminishing return in terms of workers abilities to attend to detail and quality on a consistent basis. If we attempt to build too many pieces in a project, the overall quality will likely suffer. This situation has become even more critical as our projects have become more complex with each new effort. By lowering the total number of pieces to be produced in this project, I know already that the quantity will not meet the demand, but it is in the best interest of the overall success of the project. Builders have always wanted bigger numbers for production quantities to increase profit which is understandable, but the worker fatigue associated with completing a project like our Union Pacific Challenger has become an overriding factor even for our builder who has had to reevaluate this calculation.

Going forward, now that our attention has shifted to new projects, our updates for this project will become more regular. I will also be sharing some of the research that we have done and I will begin to 'flesh out' the specifics of the versions that we intend to produce. I would certainly like to hear from you if there are specific features or details that you want to see included in this project.

8/09/11 - As often times happens with projects that we are working on, I receive inquiries about the possibility of producing our O scale project in alternate scales, such is the case with our cab-forward effort. Based on the number of inquiries received since the first of this year, it has been decided to move ahead with a very limited highly and developed gauge one version of this project. As the details come together there will be a separate project site established on our web site. If you are someone that is interested in a gauge one version of our cab-forward, please let me know and I will update you separately regarding this effort.

2/06/11 - It was somewhat predictable that the response to this project at the recent O Scale West event would be very strong as a result of the location, but strong is a real understatement of how anxious show attendees are for this project. The show provided an opportunity for show go'ers to review the design drawings for the project and to provide their input which continues to be a vital part of all of our projects.

It was made known at the show that I will be scheduling the production of the Southern Pacific cabooses to coincide with the production of the cab-forwards, there will be a special package offering both models together. As we have worked through the early design criteria for the project, new modeling challenges (opportunities) have come to light that are very exciting for those of us that look to further enhance the models that Kohs & Company produces. This is not a new situation, it has been routine with the development of all of our projects and an intrinsic part of making each project better than our previous. Rather than copying what other importers/builders do, it has always been our preference to innovate. As we move forward with our development, I will be sharing some of the new features and techniques to be expecting with the delivery of the production models. Again, many thanks to those of you at the show that are eager to help drive the development to a new level! As ideas come to mind, you know how to contact me at any time.

1/25/11 - I am very happy to advise that the pricing and schedule for our 'AC' project have been set. Despite the level of detail and advances in technology and materials, the price will remain at a competitive level with the lessor models available in the market place. This project will be a focal point for our efforts moving forward and updates will begin coming at a faster pace from here forward.

8/06/10 - It has been decided that based on the level of interest and demand for this project, it will in fact follow the N&W class 'A' in the production schedule. With the development of our new wheel profile standards near complete, the development of this project will proceed on an 'active' project basis. Updates will continue on a regular basis as we move forward from this point in time.

8/25/09 - I have received a number of inquiries about whether or not there will be a Southern Pacific caboose produced to match the quality of our 'AC' class locomotives, the answer is most definitely. I am currently considering the most appropriate class to produce so if you have suggestions, by all means let me know your thoughts.

8/05/09 - Two brief updates regarding our 'AC' project; I will be offering the AC-7 & 8 as part of this project and again in response to demand, I will be proceeding with this project sooner rather than later. I have also increased the production quantity slightly based on the early demand and the great sales success experienced with our Allegheny project, I want to be sure that we do not come up short in being able to meet the demand. More details will be posted as they develop.

7/2/09 - I have received a number of requests to include the AC-7 & 8 in our production of this project. No firm decision has been made at this point, but due to the number of requests, I have to seriously consider including those versions. After a bit more research a final decision will be made and posted to this update page.

4/28/09 - The first of an extensive series of builder's photos have been posted to new pages on this project site. We have started with photos of the AC-12, but we will be adding additional photos of not only the AC-12, but AC-10 & 11 as well as time allows.

7/06/07 - A seemingly obvious decision has been reached on how to proceed with our cab-forward project in light of the announcement conflict with Key Model Imports. As we did when Key announced their GS-1 project after we did, we will take a back seat and allow them to develop and deliver their project before we do assuming their announced timeline is realistic. Our development process obviously takes more time and requires a greater degree of research and that can not be rushed. There is no point in trying to beat them to market aa we are confident that our customers will make an informed purchase decision at the appropriate time. Our development will continue behind closed doors and what we share will be limited for obvious reasons. The basic specifications for the project will include all of what we have considered essential throughout our previous project developments. You'll find it interesting that other importers will try to 'talk down' features that we offer even though they have tried to copy our technology in the past, perhaps the fact that they have been unsuccessful with their efforts is an influencing factor. Please stay tuned for further positive developments!

4/08/07 - As mentioned in our general news updates, we again find ourselves faced with a competitor that has again announced the same project after we did so a determination needs to be made regarding how we should proceed. The details of our project will be released in a calculated manner to prevent our competitor from taking any further advantage from the situation. I can tell you that this prototype is our builder's favorite so there will be no effort spared in developing and building the finest models possible for this project. If this prototype is of particular interest to you, I would suggest that you compare our build specifications with our competitor's and also compare our respective past performance on delivering what has been promised, value for dollar spent should also be a serious consideration. Please check back frequently for more details as they are released, but make certain that we are aware of your interest so we can update you directly regarding this project.